Tower Hamlets Council has vowed to push for stronger tenants’ rights across the borough after renewing its selective licensing scheme for another five years.

The current scheme in Weavers, Whitechapel, Spitalfields and Banglatown covers all privately rented property. It now wants approval from the Secretary of State to extend the scheme borough-wide, reveals mayor John Biggs (pictured, main image).

“We will continue to stick up for the rights of renters and keep lobbying the government on this,” he promises.

The council believes the scheme has helped to prevent and deal with anti-social behaviour in the PRS and made overall improvements to property conditions across these neighbourhoods.

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It has also continued to claim thousands of pounds back for tenants in Rent Repayment Orders as part of a tough crackdown; since April 2019, environmental health staff have recovered £320,000 for tenants where landlords haven’t licensed their properties.

Rent repayment orders can claim up to 12 months’ rent back for tenants from landlords who have committed an offence, although they don’t need to have been convicted.

Game changer

Councillor Eve McQuillan, cabinet member for planning and social inclusion, says too many landlords in the borough still fail in their obligations to their tenants.

She adds: “Landlord licensing has been a game changer for us to take action against rogue landlords so I’m really pleased we’ve extended the selective licensing scheme. We’re clear that we’re on the side of tenants and want to see big reforms in the private rented sector to reset the balance of power between landlords and renters.” 

Tower Hamlets also runs two borough-wide property licensing schemes – a mandatory scheme for HMOs with five renters or more and an additional scheme covering flats or houses with three or more renters.

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